‘And came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus’, John 6. 24.
The ruined site of the village of Capernaum, modern site name ‘Tell-Hum’, is located close to the River Jordan on the north-west side of the Sea of Galilee. Its Semitic name means ‘village of Nahum’, and many scholars have tried to link the village to the place where Nahum the prophet was born. It was a fishing village, although referred to in the Bible as a city of Galilee, Luke 4. 31, relatively close to Nazareth and founded during the time of the Hasmoneans. There may well have been a customs post located on the outskirts of the village, Matt. 17. 25, which identified the demarcation line between the lands of Philip and Herod Antipas. It was here that Matthew, a customs official, was possibly called to follow the Lord, Matt. 9. 9; Mark 2. 14, and Capernaum was the home of Peter and Andrew, Matt. 8. 14. As far as the world was concerned, the village or city was not a particularly significant place, but it became universally famous as the place where our Lord came to reside with His family, Matt. 4. 13; John 2. 12 – it was literally His ‘own city’ – and where His main Galilean ministry took place. It was here that He performed many miracles, e.g., the healing of the centurion’s servant, Matt. 8. 5-13, Peter’s mother healed with others, vv. 14-17, and the man sick of the palsy, Mark 2. 3-12. It was here that He pronounced a number of woes upon various towns and cities, including Capernaum itself. Surely, the partial fulfilment of that woe lies in the current ruins of the village, Matt. 11. 23, 24? For Matthew though, 4. 13, the import of the move to Capernaum was also prophetic as the village lay in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim, and His move would fulfil Isaiah chapter 9 verses 1 and 2. But our headline text, John 6. 24, reminds us that individuals still have the opportunity to seek and find the Saviour. May they continue to do so, not on the basis of material gain, but for the spiritual food that brings eternal life, vv. 26, 27.